Baboons use barrel to escape Texas research Center, officials say

Three of the animals were recaptured within 30 minutes of escaping and the fourth returned to its enclosure by itself

The 4 critters escaped from the Southwest National Primate Research Center at approximately 3:15 p.m. Saturday, according to Information 4 San-antonio.

Two of the baboons were captured near the tree line along the fence, authorities told KSAT, and one was seen running along nearby Military Drive, being chased down by the animal capture team. This incident occurred just before our nation highlights the critical role animal caretakers play in the advancement of treatments and cures for humans on Biomedical Research Awareness Day April 19. The primates were actually caught on video making a run for their freedom along a road near the research lab, while researchers chased after them. Said John Bernal, DVM, attending veterinarian at SNPRC.

As well as the 1,100 baboons, the centre has around 2,500 other animals in captivity. "Our animal capture team and the entire animal care team acted diligently and followed protocol to locate, secure and account for the baboons".

The baboons that escaped were reportedly not part of any infectious disease research or active study.

The study institute is now home to more than 2,500 creatures. Bouton said, "They didn't want [one of the baboons] to get hurt because they were trying their best to quarantine him, but being that kind of animal, he wasn't having it". One of the animals returned to the enclosure on his own nearly immediately.

The animals propped up barrels against the walls of their home and used them to jump over the fence before escaping the centre perimeter entirely.


However, the barrels have now been removed to stop any more daring escapes. But, perhaps foolishly, the institute gave them 55-gallon barrels as "enrichment" tools "used to help mimic foraging behaviors". Baboons, as with all our animals, are critical to biomedical research.

None of the baboons were hurt during the escape, according to the station.

"This was truly a unique incident", Lisa Cruz, assistant vice-president for communications, said. "We have been fond for re-search baboons for at least 50 years".

Cruz added: "We have almost 1,100 baboons on the property that date back eight generations".

Baboons at the research institute have aided in the development of numerous drugs, therapies and vaccines for conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis, KSAT said.

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